Jefferies Bearish on Sprint Corp (S) Following Multi-Billion Dollar Offer for Spectrum-Backed Notes

Yesterday, Sprint Corp (NYSE:S) announced that it had entered into a sale and leaseback for a portion of Sprint’s spectrum portfolio, which will present the mobile network giant with $3.5 billion of cash and the option to draw an added $3.5 billion at a later date.

On back of the news, Jefferies analyst Mike McCormack reiterates an Underperform rating on shares of S with a $2.25 price target, which represents a nearly 67% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

The Spectrum Portfolio is used by an estimated 77% of Sprint’s 2.5Ghz networks and 33% of its 1.9Ghz enabled sites. The facility is made up of a 14% percent portion of Sprint’s total spectrum holdings. Collectively, the giant owns and leases just above 200mhz of spectrum.

Though the source of the valuation and the mix of the 1.9Ghz and 2.5Ghz spectrum has yet to be disclosed, McCormack interprets that based on the release, the valuation report reveals 14% of Sprint’s spectrum can be estimated at $16.4 billion.

The analyst notes, “We find the fact that 1.9Ghz was included telling, given our doubts that there is significant interest in third party (including other carriers) buying of 2.5Ghz spectrum. The 1.9Ghz sweetener is clearly a positive indicator for DISH.”

“In our view, this latest move continues what we consider a ‘hail mary’ strategy for Sprint as it further levers up a debt laden balance sheet through creative financing techniques. The bet is clearly on getting the network quality on par, and improving subscriber trends in hopes of buying back these assets in the future, but with no end in sight to competitive pressures, we remain highly skeptical, and maintain our Underperform rating on Sprint shares,” McCormack concludes.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, five-star analyst Mike McCormack is ranked #181 out of 4,182 analysts. Mike McCormack has a 75% success rating and realizes 10.2% in his annual returns. However, when recommending S, McCormack faces a loss of 26.8% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate S as a Hold. Based on 15 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 3 rate a Buy on S, 9 maintain a Hold, while 3 issue a Sell. The 12-month price target stands at $5.76, marking a 14% downside.


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